In his most recent column David Ignatius points out something I wish more Americans recognized:
But Kurdistan also has some mundane problems, starting with corruption. The country is run by traditional political parties dominated by the Barzani and Talabani clans, who have historically controlled the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) and the PUK, respectively. Having the right connections, and greasing them with some cash, has become a way of life here.
I am puzzled by the fascination that so many Americans seem to have with the Kurds. I think they’re being misled. Sure, the Kurds aren’t Arabs—they’re Indo-Europeans as are the Iranians. I can’t help but see the Kurds’ “political parties” as tribal factions gussied up in democratic trappings. IMO there are reasonable concerns that the Kurds are presenting a democratic sideshow rather than real liberal democracy and what we’re seeing is just clans, tribalism, and autocracy promoted as the seeds of a modern society.